While Tim Murtagh was creating history at Lord’s on Wednesday, his former club coach at Eastern Suburbs observed from afar how not much had changed from that young man who would constantly beat the bat in First Grade some 10 years ago.

Former Cricket NSW High Performance Manager Alan Campbell watched on keenly as Murtagh, who spent three seasons with Easts between 2005 and 2008, claimed the first Test match five-wicket haul by an Irish player at the hallowed ground.

“(Over in England) they talk about being a proper cricketer and he seemed to be a proper cricketer,” Campbell said about Murtagh, who turns 38 next week, and has played 13 seasons with English County Middlesex.

Murtagh returned 5-13 from nine overs helping Ireland dismiss England for 85 inside the first session on day one of his country’s third ever Test match.

In the process, the seamer became the oldest player to take five wickets in an innings at Lord’s, also the home ground of Middlesex.

Unfortunately for Ireland, after being set 182 to win on day three, it was bundled out for just 38.

Back in 2007/08, his third season at Easts and fourth in NSW Premier Cricket, Murtagh was part of the Dolphins team that were joint One-Day premiers with Northern District, alongside future Test opening batsman for England, Sam Robson, and a young upcoming player by the name of David Warner.

Murtagh spent one season with Western Suburbs in 2004/05.

Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club 2007/08 Joint One-Day Premiers
Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club 2007/08 Joint One-Day Premiers. Credit: Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club. 

Overall, Murtagh claimed 84 Premier Cricket or First Grade wickets at under 23.

In First Class cricket, he has collected an astonishing 806 at an average a tick over 25. Nearly all in English County cricket.

Born in London, but with Irish background, Murtagh also bowled the first ever ball for Ireland in Test cricket, May last year, against Pakistan in Dublin.

Campbell remembered Murtagh as one of those bowlers that always seemed to threaten the edge of the bat.

“If there was a stat that said ‘beat the bat’ then he’d probably figure very highly.”

“He was one of those guys (that) would come on, it seemed like nothing was happening, it was stock and steady, and then all of a sudden he’d just get the edge and you’d be like “how did that happen?” said Campbell.

“As a bowler, there was no fuss about him, he was seemingly effortless and remarkably uncomplicated.

“He had that repeatable action so that he can just bowl for what seemed like ages, no matter whether it was the beginning of the day or the middle of the day or the end of the day, he just switched on and did what he had to do.

“The other night he took a stack of wickets, but in the second innings when he didn’t take a stack of wickets, he beat the bat quite a lot and that was something I remember about him playing cricket in Sydney as well.”

Murtagh is among a long list of English County cricketers who have travelled to Sydney to experience the “tough” competition of NSW Premier Cricket.

“Joe Denly came over at age 18 … looking to learn from our system,” Campbell said, citing the example of the 33-year-old Sydney Sixers batsman, who made his Test debut for England against the West Indies earlier this year.

Joint Bill O’Reilly Medallist in 2016/17, as the best and fairest player in NSW Premier Cricket, leg-spinner Mason Crane (Gordon) is another. Wicketkeeper-batsman Ollie Pope (Campbelltown-Camden) and opener Mark Stoneman (Campbelltown-Camden, Bankstown) also made their Test debuts for England in the last two years.

“Blokes like (Former England captain) Mike Gatting, for example, did that for that reason as well, but added so much value to Balmain as a nuggety cricketer and captain,” said Campbell.

Tim Murtagh – NSW Premier Cricket figures:

Season

Club

Mat

H.S.

Runs

Aver

50

Wkt

Runs

Aver

Best

5w

2004-05

W.S.

10

42

165

23.57

0

10

409

40.90

2/33

0

2005-06

E.S.

8

33

111

22.20

0

19

297

15.63

5/37

1

2006-07

E.S.

15

80

229

25.44

2

34

755

22.20

5/68

3

2007-08

E.S.

10

19

29

9.66

0

21

461

21.95

5/21

2

Total

 

43

80

534

22.25

2

84

1922

22.88

5/21

6